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SEALY, Texas -- Ricky Seals-Jones, the top prospect in Texas and No. 13 player in the nation, announced his commitment to Texas A&M on Monday.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver, who projects as an athlete because of his ability to play multiple positions, announced his commitment to the Aggies before family, friends, coaches, teammates and classmates in a special ceremony at Sealy High School.
ESPN's RecruitingNation also ranks Seals-Jones as the nation's No. 1 athlete prospect and top player in the Midlands Region.
The signs in recent weeks appeared to make the news a mere formality for Seals-Jones (Sealy, Texas), who maintained neutrality when he talked about the finalists, which included LSU.
But the actions of the Sealy (Texas) High School star belied those words. From wearing maroon Texas A&M gloves during the last two Sealy home games, to attending a second Texas A&M game (its season finale against Missouri), to his excited tweets during and after the Aggies' win over Alabama in November, many signs pointed in one direction.
There was no hat game for Seals-Jones on Monday. As he sat down in the "Tiger Room" at Sealy to make his announcement, there were no Texas A&M or LSU hats placed on a table; just the one inside his jacket. As he sat in front of a host of microphones, he simply said, "I'm going to verbally commit to be an Aggie," unzipped his black warm-up jacket, which had a maroon Texas A&M hat inside, and placed it on his head.While many believed Seals-Jones was all but committed to Texas A&M, he said that it was actually a close race with LSU and it came down to the wire. He said he made the decision on Sunday after dinner and told his parents in confidence. "It was close," Seals-Jones said. "But I sat down and talked to my parents about it and I thought A&M was a better choice, so that's what I went with. I like my decision and I just can't wait to get down there and have fun. "I just felt like A&M was the best fit for me."
Now, the U.S. Army All-American will don the maroon and white and could be catching passes from reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Seals-Jones is Texas A&M's 34th commitment in the 2013 class. He was recruited by Aggies recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Clarence McKinney, who built a close relationship with Seals-Jones and communicated frequently with the Sealy star.
"We had a strong bond and connection, recruiting-wise and as a coach," Seals-Jones said of McKinney. "Just meeting him and (him) being my recruiting coach has been great."
It also didn't hurt that Seals-Jones has a friendship with current Texas A&M running back Brandon Williams. The transfer from Oklahoma played his high school ball at Brookshire (Texas) Royal, which is close to Sealy, and the pair have known each other for years.
"Me and (my teammate) Jowan Davis, we know him a lot," Seals-Jones said. "I talked to him a little bit and whenever I'm at A&M, I'll text him to see where he's at or at the game he'll come up to me and talk to me."
Seals-Jones adds to an already loaded recruiting class of receivers that includes Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy's Ja'Quay Williams, Cedar Hill (Texas) High School's Quincy Adeboyejo, Manvel (Texas) High School's Kyrion Parker and Honolulu Saint Louis School's Jeremy Tabuyo.
Athlete commits LaQuvionte Gonzalez (Cedar Hill), Cameron Echols-Luper (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) and tight end commit Derrick Griffin (Rosenberg, Texas/Terry) all could wind up as receivers as well, potentially giving the Aggies eight players at the position in this class.
The announcement concludes the eventful process for Seals-Jones. He originally committed to Texas on Feb. 22, but decommitted on June 5. Seals-Jones took unofficial visits to Texas and Texas A&M later that month, but spent most of the summer focusing on basketball with his AAU team, the Rytes Warriors.
Seals-Jones suffered a knee injury Sept. 6 that kept him out of action for seven weeks. Texas dropped out of the race for Seals-Jones in September, electing not to pursue him further, and Seals-Jones named LSU and Texas A&M as his final two candidates at that point. He then took unofficial visits to each during the season, attending the Aggies' showdown with LSU on Oct. 20 at Kyle Field, and LSU's home game against Alabama on Nov. 3. He received in-home visits from both schools in late November.
His official visit to Texas A&M is still scheduled for Jan. 11 and he said he won't be taking an official visit to LSU."It feels good," Seals-Jones said of concluding the process. "Now I can just focus on basketball and getting ready for the (U.S. Army All-American) bowl game." After his initial decommitment from Texas, Seals-Jones mentioned a desire to play basketball at the next level. That's no longer a given any more, as he's considering playing only football when he arrives at Texas A&M. "I'm still thinking on it, but probably not," Seals-Jones said. "I'll probably be a football guy. But right now, I'm still deciding." The opportunity to play with Manziel is also enticing for him. "It's pretty big," Seals-Jones said. "And to know that he's a freshman and he gets to come back, you can do big things as a freshman in the SEC. Him being there and me fighting for a receiver spot, if I get it, him throwing me the ball is going to be great."